Camberley hold on to defeat Farnham
A pulsating local derby at Watchetts Lane.
A pulsating local derby at Watchetts Lane ended with a bonus point win for league leaders Camberley. It was a well deserved victory based on an electrifying first 16 minutes when Farnham were simply swept aside.
Not the start that the visitors would have chosen - conditions were cold and clear with the pitch 'good to soft in places'. Farnham had been forced into changes offering opportunities for Academy tyro Jordon Frost in the second row and a reshuffled back row of Jonny Davidson, Will Markham and Fran Meagher. Toby Comley to full back and captain in place of hamstrung skipper Mike Salmon.
Camberley had suffered their first defeat of the season in the corresponding fixture back in October - sent home with their tails between their legs they were fired up for the home encounter - a reunion day had swelled home support and the Farnham faithful had turned up in numbers.
Two minutes in and the league leaders go on the attack. A catch and drive trundles remorselessly towards the Farnham try line, almost impossible to halt legally, the try is scored wide out and the signs are not good.
Farnham begin to make inroads but fall foul of the referee, the attacks are sporadic and the ball carriers isolated - penalties abound at the breakdown.
Back come Camberley and another catch and drive eats up the yards, fast hands from their confident half backs and the left winger is over in the corner with just 11 minutes gone.
Farnham have to react and break out - disaster, speculative miss pass picked off by the now predatory Camberley centres - intercept try under the posts. A gift gratefully received and a mountain to climb after just 13 minutes. 17-0.
The Farnham supporters mutter 'cricket score' under their breaths and the signs are not good. Compounded with niggles to Will Markham and Elliott Rich - Farnham use two of their three benchies - Reece de Gruchy and Luke Jermyn - both enjoy impressive matches from the bench. Davidson, Meagher and de Gruchy start to break down the previously free flowing Camberley three quarter line. Corlett and Akin are dominating the centre pairings forcing the home backs wide and drawing mistakes - at last a reaction.
Camberley have the chilly blast at their backs and kick for the corner - catch and drive held but reset - the lead increase to 22-0.
Farnham are starting to make inroads and drive for the corner with half time imminent, scrum held, reset but no time as the ref ends proceedings. Frustrating end to the period but the sparks of a revival are there.
Having ended the first half on the up Farnham start the second period strongly, the cold wind is now at their backs and Toby Salmon, eventual man of the match,is probing both with ball in hand and with a series of raking kicks for territory. The Camberley defence holds but is beginning to creak.
On 52 minutes catch and drive by Farnham Ollie Brown sniping close to the scrum and fast hands through Corlett to Jemi Akin - Olugbade untouched through the gap to score under the posts - easy extras for Toby Salmon. 22-7.
Frustrations mount for both sides as the referees decisions often baffle. Farnham continue to force the pace, try disallowed for truck and trailer - baffling! Back to the corner but Camberley are proving why they are league leaders, the attacks are driven back. Time is running down - penalty Farnham missed. Camberley clear their lines and force into the visitors 22. Snaffled by Toby Salmon who wrestles through four tackles to free up winger Ed Weeks at pace,on to Jermyn and a pop inside to Toby Comley - superb 80 metre break out try 22-12.
From the kick off Farnham rampage, Camberley batter the attacks back. Close. Penalty Farnham - ice cool Toby Salmon slots it home 22-15 and a losing bonus point. Reward for a superb second half.
Camberley are a classy side, perhaps, having secured their own try bonus, they took their foot off the pedal. The game had effectively been won in the first quarter. A great fight back from the young Farnham side. Just not enough - one of those 'What if or if Only' days.
Did Camberley deserve to lose - no but it was b***** close by the final whistle!
Toby Salmon 3 points pulled strings throughout and bonus point iceman penalty.
Jemi 2 points - great try and terrified in attack and at the tackle James Trodden 1 battled, lead and charged - players player all game.